Puebloans turned out Monday to celebrate a jobs announcement by one of the city’s own.
3-D cast and splint maker ActivArmor, a local startup founded by Diana Hall, announced plans to hire 23 workers and eventually move into an 8,000-square-foot section for the former Qual-Med building in Downtown.
The jobs will pay an average of $62,000 in wages and benefits, Pueblo Economic Development Corp. leaders said at the announcement at the Business and Technology Center at Third and Main streets.
To assist with the expansion, Pueblo City Council on Monday night was expected to award the company a $250,000 jobs incentive grant from the city’s half-cent sales tax fund for economic development.
The grant also fulfills the matching funds ActivArmor needed for a $250,000 state grant it was recently awarded to aid with its expansion. The company also has raised a similar amount of funding from private investors, Hall said.
The types of jobs will include computer-aided-design drafters and other support workers. They’re needed as ActivArmor moves into expanding and marketing its products to medical offices inside and outside of Colorado.
The company plans to relocated to its new workspace by year’s end. It currently works out of office space at the Business and Technology Center at Third and Main streets.
“Really, it’s been a community effort,” Hall told the estimated 50 community leaders and well-wishers who attended the announcement.
Pueblo leaders praised Hall, a single-mother who received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Colorado School of Mines and then returned to her native Pueblo.
“She is an inspiration to all of our young women in Pueblo and I think the work she has done is going to launch Pueblo into the national spotlight in the medical arena,” said Chris Markuson, the director of economic development for Pueblo County.
Hall’s idea was an early winner in the annual Southern Colorado Entrepreneurship contest organized by Colorado State University-Pueblo’s business school, including securing some venture capital to keep the work going. She’s since also received assistance from the Southern Colorado Small Business Development Center and a pledge of worker training support from Pueblo Community College
ActivArmor is the latest in a series of local primary job employers aided by PEDCO and the city’s half-cent sales tax for economic development, PEDCO leaders noted.
“Some of the questions we’re asked is “Do we help startups?’ and the answer obviously is, ‘Yes,’ ’’ said Andrew Trainor, president of Legacy Bank and the current chair of PEDCO.